Popular digital marketplace, Jiji, is one of the leading platforms making ecommerce possible and a lot easier for tech savvy Nigerians.
Launched in 2014, the online shopping classified has arguably grown to become one of Nigeria’s largest marketplaces where vendors can buy and sell anything online -new and used.
A lot of people say they buy and sell on Jiji to make legit income. So, our correspondent tried out the app.
Straight to Google Playstore. The Jiji app is only 20MB. I downloaded the 188.8.131.52 version for the purpose of this review.
Details from the app store revealed that it was released in 2014 and was last updated on the 24th of November, 2021. Quite impressive.
Initiating was also easy, I was only required to sign up with an email or a phone number. As snappy as possible, I landed in the home screen, accessing millions of vendors and ready to make my first purchase or sale.
One more thing. I needed to verify the email. A confirmatory mail was sent to the email and phone number I had provided, and that was all.
Surfing the app
The Jiji app has a very simple and easy to use interface which is highly responsive. A new user won’t be needing to go through a serious learning curve to adapt the services. This was really encouraging for an app with ecommerce at the centre.
The app also has a convenient search system with division into numerous categories and filters. There is Jiji jobs, Jiji clothing, Jiji laptops, Jiji electronics, Jiji dresses, Jiji shoes, Jiji fashion and Jiji house amongst other. These search keys helped me jump around with great speed.
Buying on Jiji
Buying on Jiji is easy, I only needed to take my time to surf through products of interest, then fetch the mobile number of the vendor who listed the item for sale. This way, users can complete a purchase in minutes depending on arrangement with a vendor on mode of delivery.
Selling goods and services
To attempt to make my first sale, I tried listing something on the platform. I took pictures of my headphone. Uploaded within minutes, filled in its details as required and submitted.
The app required that vendors supply details of each listed items such as type, model, colour, price, category etc.
After submitting, the app confirmed the listing but required that the item be reviewed by its team before finally publishing online for potential buyers to discover it.
I thought it was going to be a simple click-through process, but alas, it took about 15 minutes to get my headphone passed for listing. Eventually, it was passed and anyone seeking to buy a headphone could come across my item.
Jiji’s ads business model
One aspect that you cannot miss on the platform is the ads. You get enough of it thrown at you from sidebars to pop-ups and premium listings. This is probably the money pot for the Russian-owned platform.
While I had to wait for my item to be confirmed and verified, I was pitched to use its ads service. Honestly, the app has one of the most affordable ads pricing in Nigeria.
For my headphone, I was offered N2,499 for a 7 day ads on the platform. So, if I am in, I could factor in this expenses into my selling price. This should make sense for wholesalers. They can distribute this cost on the number of products to be sold for a fair market.
Beyond business, how safe is Jiji?
With an impressive business game, it is natural to expect Jiji to compliment its processes by prioritising user safety.
As a product reviewer with paranoid tendencies, Jiji is not a place for me and anyone who prioritises safety and security. After having tried out with a fake name and email ID, I don’t feel safe using the platform as it could be a den for unsuspecting criminals, hiding under technology to sell stolen items such as phones and laptops.
This brings me to my headline: With a stolen phone number or fake email ID, I can sell/buy stolen items on Jiji without getting caught.
Poor Know Your Customer (KYC) feature
It’s the 21st century. Jiji’s KYC gig of merely phone numbers and emails don’t cut it. Worse, phone numbers of innocent people can be stolen to open accounts. Or, fake emails are registered just to carry out illicit transactions.
A KYC policy through BVN route would be a better option for an ecommerce entity. This way, users, when situation arises, can be traced as BVN provides vital details to include home address, fingerprint, passport, date of birth and other tangible pieces of information about users.
More importantly, this will also help Jiji perform due diligence such that after customers’ identity is verified, they are screened against global watchlist before committing to do business with them.
Russian-owned Jiji has built an impressive ecommerce app but needs to up its security game as it seeks to win the trust of more Nigerian entrepreneurs, freelancers and merchants.
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